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Expert Travel vs.

CA
Facts:

Korean Airlines (KAL), private respondent, is a corporation established and registered in the Republic
of South Korea and licensed to do business in the Philippines. Its general manager in the Philippines
is Suk Kyoo Kim, while its appointed counsel was Atty. Mario Aguinaldo and his law firm.
On September 6, 1999, KAL, through Atty. Aguinaldo, filed a Complaint against ETI (Expertravel &
Tours Inc.) with the RTC of Manila, for the collection of sum of money.
The verification and certification against forum shopping was signed by Atty. Aguinaldo, who
indicated therein that he was the resident agent and legal counsel of KAL and had caused the
preparation of the complaint.
ETI filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that Atty. Aguinaldo was not authorized to
execute the verification and certificate of non-forum shopping as required by Section 5, Rule 7 of
the Rules of Court.
KAL alleged that the board of directors conducted a special teleconference on June 25, 1999, which
he and Atty. Aguinaldo attended. It was also averred that in that same teleconference, the board of
directors approved a resolution authorizing Atty. Aguinaldo to execute the certificate of non-forum
shopping and to file the complaint. Suk Kyoo Kim also alleged, however, that the corporation had no
written copy of the aforesaid resolution.
TC - denied the motion to dismiss, giving credence to the claims of Atty. Aguinaldo and Suk Kyoo Kim
that the KAL Board of Directors indeed conducted a teleconference on June 25, 1999, during which
it approved a resolution.
ETI filed a motion for the reconsideration of the Order, contending that it was inappropriate for the
court to take judicial notice of the said teleconference without any prior hearing. However, the
same was denied by the TC.
ETI then filed a petition for certiorari and mandamus, assailing the orders of the RTC. In its comment
on the petition, KAL appended a certificate signed by Atty. Aguinaldo dated January 10, 2000 which
states that, Mario A. Aguinaldo and his law firm M.A. Aguinaldo & Associates or any of its lawyers
are hereby appointed and authorized to take with whatever legal action necessary to effect the
collection of the unpaid account of Expert Travel & Tours..
CA dismissed the petition and ruled that the verification and certificate of non-forum shopping
executed by Atty. Aguinaldo was sufficient compliance with the Rules of Court. According to the
appellate court, Atty. Aguinaldo had been duly authorized by the board resolution approved on June
25, 1999, and was the resident agent of KAL. As such, the RTC could not be faulted for taking judicial
notice of the said teleconference of the KAL Board of Directors.
The petitioner asserts that compliance with Section 5, Rule 7, of the Rules of Court can be
determined only from the contents of the complaint and not by documents or pleadings outside
thereof. Hence, the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess of
jurisdiction, and the CA erred in considering the affidavit of the respondents general manager, as
well as the Secretarys/Resident Agents Certification and the resolution of the board of directors
contained therein, as proof of compliance with the requirements of Section 5, Rule 7 of the Rules of
Court.
The petitioner also maintains that the RTC cannot take judicial notice of the said teleconference
without prior hearing, nor any motion therefor. The petitioner reiterates its submission that the
teleconference and the resolution adverted to by the respondent was a mere fabrication.

The respondent, for its part, avers that Atty. Aguinaldo, as the resident agent and corporate
secretary, is authorized to sign and execute the certificate of non-forum shopping required by
Section 5, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court, on top of the board resolution approved during the
teleconference of June 25, 1999.
The respondent also points out that the courts are aware of the development in technology; hence,
may take judicial notice thereof without need of hearings.

Issues/Held:
1. WON respondent complied with sec. 5 rule 7 of the rules of court. (Whether Atty. Aguinaldo has the
authority to execute the requisite verification and certificate of non-forum shopping)
No. Section 5, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court provides:
SEC. 5. Certification against forum shopping. The plaintiff or principal party shall certify under
oath in the complaint or other initiatory pleading asserting a claim for relief, or in a sworn
certification annexed thereto and simultaneously filed therewith: (a) that he has not theretofore
commenced any action or filed any claim involving the same issues in any court, tribunal or
quasi-judicial agency and, to the best of his knowledge, no such other action or claim is pending
therein; (b) if there is such other pending action or claim, a complete statement of the present
status thereof; and (c) if he should thereafter learn that the same or similar action or claim has
been filed or is pending, he shall report that fact within five (5) days therefrom to the court
wherein his aforesaid complaint or initiatory pleading has been filed.

It is settled that the requirement to file a certificate of non-forum shopping is mandatory8 and that
the failure to comply with this requirement cannot be excused. The certification is a peculiar and
personal responsibility of the party, an assurance given to the court or other tribunal that there are
no other pending cases involving basically the same parties, issues and causes of action. Hence, the
certification must be accomplished by the party himself because he has actual knowledge of
whether or not he has initiated similar actions or proceedings in different courts or tribunals. Even
his counsel may be unaware of such facts. Hence, the requisite certification executed by the
plaintiffs counsel will not suffice.
In a case where the plaintiff is a private corporation, the certification may be signed, for and on
behalf of the said corporation, by a specifically authorized person, including its retained counsel,
who has personal knowledge of the facts required to be established by the documents.
Indeed, the certificate of non-forum shopping may be incorporated in the complaint or appended
thereto as an integral part of the complaint. The rule is that compliance with the rule after the filing
of the complaint, or the dismissal of a complaint based on its non-compliance with the rule, is
impermissible. However, in exceptional circumstances, the court may allow subsequent compliance
with the rule. If the authority of a partys counsel to execute a certificate of non-forum shopping is
disputed by the adverse party, the former is required to show proof of such authority or
representation.
In this case, the petitioner, as the defendant in the RTC, assailed the authority of Atty. Aguinaldo to
execute the requisite verification and certificate of non-forum shopping as the resident agent and
counsel of the respondent. It was, thus, incumbent upon the respondent, as the plaintiff, to allege
and establish that Atty. Aguinaldo had such authority to execute the requisite verification and
certification for and in its behalf. The respondent, however, failed to do so.

While Atty. Aguinaldo is the resident agent of the respondent in the Philippines, this does not mean
that he is authorized to execute the requisite certification against forum shopping.
Under the law, Atty. Aguinaldo was not specifically authorized to execute a certificate of non-forum
shopping as required by Section 5, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court. This is because while a resident
agent may be aware of actions filed against his principal (a foreign corporation doing business in the
Philippines), such resident may not be aware of actions initiated by its principal, whether in the
Philippines against a domestic corporation or private individual, or in the country where such
corporation was organized and registered, against a Philippine registered corporation or a Filipino
citizen.

2. WON Courts are allowed to take judicial notice with respect to teleconferencing as a mode of
transacting business.
Yes. Generally speaking, matters of judicial notice have three material requisites: (1) the matter
must be one of common and general knowledge; (2) it must be well and authoritatively settled and
not doubtful or uncertain; and (3) it must be known to be within the limits of the jurisdiction of the
court.
Things of "common knowledge," of which courts take judicial matters coming to the knowledge of
men generally in the course of the ordinary experiences of life, or they may be matters which are
generally accepted by mankind as true and are capable of ready and unquestioned demonstration.
In this age of modern technology, the courts may take judicial notice that business transactions may
be made by individuals through teleconferencing. Teleconferencing is interactive group
communication (three or more people in two or more locations) through an electronic medium.
In the Philippines, teleconferencing and videoconferencing of members of board of directors of
private corporations is a reality, in light of Republic Act No. 8792. The Securities and Exchange
Commission issued SEC Memorandum Circular No. 15, providing the guidelines to be complied with
related to such conferences. Thus, the Court agrees with the RTC that persons in the Philippines may
have a teleconference with a group of persons in South Korea relating to business transactions or
corporate governance.
3. WON a teleconference was conducted by the Respondents BOD wherein Atty. Aguinaldo was
authorized by the former to file the complaint and execute the required certification against
forum shopping.

No. Even given the possibility that Atty. Aguinaldo and Suk Kyoo Kim participated in a
teleconference along with the respondents Board of Directors, the Court is not convinced that one
was conducted; even if there had been one, the Court is not inclined to believe that a board
resolution was duly passed specifically authorizing Atty. Aguinaldo to file the complaint and execute
the required certification against forum shopping.
The records show that the petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that the
respondent failed to comply with Section 5, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court. The respondent opposed
the motion on December 1, 1999, on its contention that Atty. Aguinaldo, its resident agent, was duly
authorized to sue in its behalf. The respondent, however, failed to establish its claim that Atty.
Aguinaldo was its resident agent in the Philippines. Even the identification card of Atty. Aguinaldo
which the respondent appended to its pleading merely showed that he is the company lawyer of the
respondents Manila Regional Office.
The respondents allegation that its board of directors conducted a teleconference on June 25, 1999
and approved the said resolution (with Atty. Aguinaldo in attendance) is incredible, given the

additional fact that no such allegation was made in the complaint. If the resolution had indeed been
approved on June 25, 1999, long before the complaint was filed, the respondent should have
incorporated it in its complaint, or at least appended a copy thereof. The respondent failed to do so.
It was only on January 28, 2000 that the respondent claimed, for the first time, that there was such a
meeting of the Board of Directors held on June 25, 1999
The Court is, thus, more inclined to believe that the alleged teleconference on June 25, 1999 never
took place, and that the resolution allegedly approved by the respondents Board of Directors during
the said teleconference was a mere concoction purposefully foisted on the RTC, the CA and this
Court, to avert the dismissal of its complaint against the petitioner.
Petition is Granted.